Colnago and the pavé: a combination that helped build the history of cycling, and in particular the legend of the northern classics, 5 victories obtained from 1995 to 2000 in the Paris Roubaix with Ballerini, Museeuw and Tafi riding Colnago C40, the first all-carbon bicycle to win the race.
To learn more: quality does not break
The pavé is, as we know, a pavement made up of cobbles stones, which put cyclists to the test both for the difficulty of driving and for the quantity of vibrations and stresses to which the body is subjected.
Potholes, punctures, falls, and if all goes well back pain and numb hands … discomforts range over a fairly wide range, but to avoid them or prevent them you can adopt a series of technical tricks that can significantly improve the pedaling experience.
In Italy the pavé is less and less widespread, but the following suggestions can be useful to the many enthusiasts who every year decide to organize a trip to the north to live a unique experience, riding on the legendary sectors of the Roubaix or on the terrible “côtes” of the Tour of Flanders. Moreover, the same tricks are certainly valid also for dirt roads on the Eroica or Strade Bianche vice versa very “trendy” in our country, and which present the same kind of difficulties.
Here are the 5 tips
Better fast than slow
Facing the low-speed paved road would literally mean bouncing from one stone to another. At a faster pace the smoothness improves, as does the precision of driving; pedaling is more efficient and it is easier to maintain a regular and linear gait, avoiding falls. Experts recommend keeping a cadence of around 80-90 rpm, which also allows you to maintain the speed high.
All in the back…
As for the bike position, it is better to keep style and elegance aside for other routes … on rough terrain you need to keep the weight back on the saddle, to have more control and grip on the rear wheel, avoiding dangerous slips.
Watch out the gears
It would be advisable to choose the right ratio (obviously not too hard) before tackling the paved section: on uneven ground it is not advisable to change, if not strictly necessary, so as not to strain the mechanics and not risk a chain jump that would force you to stop and lose the rhythm.
Relax, if you can …
Pedal riding on the pavement puts a strain on the physique, subjected to an incessant “machine-gunning” of vibrations that in the long run strain and cause tingling and pain in the back, neck and hands. The risk is to stiffen to counter the stresses, but doing so only worsens the situation: it is necessary to try instead to remain relaxed and “flexible” to better absorb the setbacks.
Hands in the right place
When the control of the bicycle is more difficult, it is better to hold the handlebars on the horizontal part, or at least on the horns to have more reactivity on the brakes, but avoiding the grip on the hand guards, which in certain situations is more insecure and forces you to tighten with greater force leading to soreness in the hands and arms.
In any case, it may be useful to mount a gel tape or other suitable accessories to guarantee a thicker and softer support to the hands, able to absorb part of the vibrations.